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|Subject: 'Idol' Makes Cuts; Tatiana, 'Norman Gentle' Stay Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:38 am|| |
It was down to 72 singers after a drama-filled audition process to start Season 8 of "American Idol." There were some surprises in Tuesday night's cuts -- more for who stayed than who left.
Some singers forgot lyrics and got a break, others just continued to be terrible and annoying but moved on anyway.
In this final stage of the audition, the singers performed by themselves with the band and, if they chose, with an instrument. "The stakes have never been higher," host Ryan Seacrest reminded us. (Well, they sort of have been... seven times before. But we get it.)
"Idol" went all "Lost" on us -- jumping back and forth all night, starting the episode by showing us the end of the audition night, where the contestants all waiting in the holding room and the judges were sorting out their fates. Then they pulled a little rewind action on us and brought us back to the start of the day, where we watched the singers preparing for their biggest tests, thus far.
The singers would perform and get no comments from the judges. The only verdict would come at the end of the night.
Adam Lambert was verging on musical theater -- he's the one who was in the L.A. cast of "Wicked." He told Ryan he was going to sing Cher's "Believe," and try to make it his own ("But I won't do disco, I promise," he said.). He slowed it down a bit and gave a passionate big finish.
Matt Giraud took to the keyboards and gave a soulful version of Ray Charles' "Georgia." The judges weren't supposed to give comments, but their standing ovation said enough.
Best friends Jamar Rogers and Matt Gokey were up. Jamar went first and gave the judges a reason to celebrate with the Plain White T's "Delilah." Matt gave his friend a compliment before taking the stage and doing LeeAnn Womack's "I Hope You Dance." He got Paula to jump out of her chair, so that's probably a good sign.
Anoop Desai and Jorge Nunez both picked up the beat a bit.
Legally blind Scott McIntyre finally got his chance to get behind the keyboards, where he was most comfortable. He probably made Chris Daughtry proud with a strong performance of "Home."
In the first trio of girls they showed us, I thought Lil Rounds and Kristin McNamara came out the strongest, while Kendall Beard and Stevie Wright came off a little weak.Mishavonna Henson -- who tried out last season and made it to Hollywood, but no further -- was pretty good doing Michael Buble's "Everything."
Tatiana Del Toro has already established a heck of a personality and become notorious for always trying to squeeze in a few lines of extra songs in after the judges have told her she hadn't met their expectations. (Her song count, through three auditions, was at eight).
Joanna Pacitti -- this season's Carly Smithson, who has already been signed to a major recording contract -- stumbled all over the lyrics to Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." She wasn't the only one. Steven Fowler, after staying up all night talking about how easy his song was lyrically, forgot the words and asked to start again. He started again and forgot the words again. He gave up and walked off stage.
There was a bit of drama in which the judges had put Tatiana in one room, but when the numbers didn't line up, she was taken out of a room and her fate was hanging in the balance.
Nick Mitchell, a.k.a. "Norman Gentle," wasn't sure which of his egos would take the stage. That's right, one of the final 72 people out of more than 100,000 that auditioned this season, still wasn't sure whether he wanted to take this competition seriously. He didn't. He came on as "Norman Gentle" and tried to be funny again. He wasn't, but the judges laughed anyway.
Joanna Pacitti, Steven Fowler, Nathaniel Marshall, country crooner Michael Sarver, Jasmine Murray and Kai Kalama are some of the folks who made it through -- some by the skin of their teeth.
Leneshe Young, who we met in Louisville and had a story of growing up with a single mom in Cincinnati and trying to come up from nothing, was among the singers in the first room to be told it was the end of the road.
Scott McIntyre, Danny Gokey, Jamar Rogers, Jorge Nunez, Anoop Desai, Adam Lambert and Jackie Tohn were among the singers in the next room to learn they were going through to another round.
Tatiana was placed in the final room and was panicking in the corner, but even though they thought their journey had ended after hearing two other rooms scream for joy, they were told they made it through. Tatiana and Nick Mitchell/"Norman Gentle" were among those in the final room to move on.